Wednesday, January 8, 2003 (Approved
at the March 5, 2003 meeting)
2:30 p.m. in the Mary Maples Dunn Room at Pierce Hall
Attending: Cristen Abrams, Kim Allen,
Stacey Anasazi, Cyndee Button, Lakisha Coppedge, Connie Dragon,
Chris Carr Hill, Patty Kimura, Anne Marie LaFosse, Karen LeHouiller,
Laura Matta, Ann Mayo, Janice McDowell, Steve Monteiro, Michael
Washut, and Tara Zidonik
Excused: Gary Duffy, Alicia Guidotti, Serena Harris, Susan Hollingsworth,
Merrilyn Lewis, Dianne Mikucki, Angela Musiak, Janice Nye, Laura
Rauscher, Sam Rush, and Patricia Swan
Guest: Sandy Bycenski
Patty Kimura called the meeting to order at 2:40 p.m. As we did
not have enough members for a quorum at the start of the meeting,
the agenda was re-ordered beginning with New/Old Business.
1. NEW/OLD BUSINESS:
Patty discussed the meaning of Groupthink and how it relates to
our decision making processes. She tied the discussion in with the
Plantation letter and how we as a group needed to make a decision
on whether we wanted to endorse the letter, write our own letter,
or not do either. (Groupthink is "a mode of thinking that people
engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group,
when the members' striving for unanimity overrides their motivation
to realistically appraise alternative courses of action."-Dr.
Irving Janis). We discussed the importance of being a critical evaluator
in discussions during decision making and questioning one's assumptions;
how self-censorship under the guise of group loyalty can cause groupthink
and the importance of creating an open climate to promote open discussion
and non-judgmental responses and acceptance of divergent thinking.
Good decisions are made when an open climate is promoted, when divergent
views are embraced and welcomed, when a diverse group with different
perspectives are included, when critical evaluators are a part of
the process and when the leaders avoid being too directive. Patty
will be emailing members of staff council with more information
regarding Groupthink to help us become to have a better understanding
of the concept and enhance our decision making process.
Chris shared an anonymous e-mail that had come to her as a reaction
to the following portion of the November minutes that were reporting
a discussion about community forums: Cyndee said the Kahn Institute
has been involved in doing a Reparations Project, involving a student/faculty
panel, and she was thinking this might make a good community forum.
A discussion was then held about exploring things like the term
faculty/staff and instead using a term that is less divisional,
such as Smith community or Smith employees.
The staff member e-mailed: The problem here may lie with self-created
insecurity. What is wrong with being a staff when it is what you
are? I say if the sense of inferiority exists those persons need
to be informed that they are misperceiving and to be instilled the
pride of being what they are and what they do. Staff are staff and
faculty members are faculty members. Both have plenty of reasons
to be proud of what they do and what they contribute to the work
place and the community. I must say that I do resent people who
presume others share their personal insecurities or sense of inferiority
complex. I don't see any reason why I and all of the staff members
at Smith College couldn't proudly announce ourselves as staff.
Chris said she was unsure of the proper forum in which to share
this reaction, and a discussion ensued about the importance of staff
council members sharing the opinion of colleagues. We agreed that
it was important that staff council and our colleagues be able to
frankly share opinions.
2. REVIEW MINUTES
The minutes of the December 4, 2002 Staff Council meeting were approved.
3. COMMITTEE REPORTS:
A. Nominations and Elections:
The Nominations and Elections Committee met January 7, 2003 to discuss
aligning slots to slide people into the right areas of coverage
and mapped out a schedule for the nomination and elections process
this year. The call for nominations is slated to go out by February
14th and is due February 28th. Ballots will go out either March
7th or 14th for elections of members of the 2003-2004 Staff Council
and are due March 28th. We plan to invite the newly elected members
to the May 7th staff council meeting. The committee asked for help
in attracting more members from Physical Plant and RADS to be on
Staff Council. The next meeting of the Nominations and Elections
Committee will be on January 30th at 9:30am.
B. Personnel Policy Committee:
Did not meet. Next meeting 1/16/03, noon at the Davis Center
Did not meet. Next meeting 1/9/03 at 2pm
Recent activities: Bright Nights went well. Cookie Swap had a very
good turn out with more people showing up than had signed up.
Have-a-Heart Food Drive-planned for February
Book swap-planned for March
Spring trip to NYC-Saturday, May 3, 2003
Cinco de Mayo-not sure if going to happen]
Trip to Boston-June 2003
Summer Picnic to be discussed further at next meeting
Intern Update: There seems to be a bit of a communication
breakdown with Monique who has overextended herself and cannot fulfill
the requirements of the internship. The committee is looking for
a replacement for Monique. Currently committee members are picking
up the intern responsibilities.
Survey responses: Approx. 40 staff returned the Activities
Next meeting: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 2 p.m.
4. MORE NEW/OLD BUSINESS:
Study Circles Orientation was confirmed for Wednesday, February
5, 2003 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Alumnae House.
Rally Day-Jacqueline Shine, Show Chair of Rally
Day, asked Staff Council to do a skit and be a part of Rally Day.
Rally Day is on Wednesday, February 19, 2003, and the show is at
7:30 p.m. The length of the skit should be no longer than 10 minutes.
Anyone interested in being involved should contact Janice McDowell.
It would be a great way for Staff Council to have a presence on
The next Staff Council meeting is not a regular meeting. Instead,
we will hold a Study Circles Orientation from 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
on Wednesday, February 5th at the Alumnae House. While we understand
that the full time commitment for the meeting presentation may be
difficult for some, we hope you can attend either the entire presentation
or the sample Dialogue and Debrief section from 2:45 p.m.- 3:30
The Staff Council meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
Kim Allen, Co-Secretary